Does Sherbet Have Dairy?

If you have ever tried rainbow sherbet as a kid, you probably still remember the deliciously creamy and fruity taste.

But sherbet isn’t just for children. Even adults love this strange food that is something between sorbet and ice cream.

Does Sherbet Have Dairy?

However, sherbet does contain a small amount of dairy, so you will need to be careful when you are on a dairy-free diet.

In this article, we take a close look at how much dairy sherbet contains and how it compares to ice cream and sorbet.

Does Sherbet Contain Dairy?

Yes, traditional sherbet contains a small amount of milk and cream. These are both dairy products, so sherbet is not dairy-free.

If you want to enjoy a dairy-free sweet treat, then you can choose either sorbet or some of the other dairy-free sherbet alternatives we mention further down in this article.

What Is Sherbet?

Sherbet is not quite a sorbet but also not ice cream. It sits somewhere in the middle. 

Sherbet contains up to 2% dairy ingredients but it is very different to ice cream in texture and flavor.

Typically, sherbet also contains citric acid which makes the flavor of this sweet treat quite tart.

This citric acid comes from a range of fruit flavors that are added to the sherbet. Fruit such as pineapple, raspberry and orange are great sherbet flavors that make it wonderfully refreshing.

Generally, sherbet is made with dairy, such as cream or milk, and fruit. This means sherbet is not vegan and it is also not suitable for anyone who is lactose intolerant.

Some manufacturers also add gelatin and egg white into sherbet which make it resemble ice cream.

However, sherbet is not the same as ice cream because it has a much lower dairy content and it is also made with fruit purée or fruit juice.

But if you are looking for an iced dessert that is very similar to your favorite ice cream, then sherbet is a great option.

It even contains less saturated fat and few calories than ice cream.

Is Sherbet Gluten-Free?

Yes, sherbet is gluten-free as its main ingredients do not contain any gluten. Sherbet is made with sugar, milk, fruit juice and cream.

None of these ingredients contain gluten which makes sherbet ideal for a gluten-free diet.

Dairy-Free Sherbet Alternatives

Sherbet may not be dairy-free but there are still plenty of great frozen treats that you can try if you are allergic to dairy.

Sorbettos

You may have seen sorbettos at your local grocery store or ice cream shop. Sorbettos are made with water, fruit juice, sugar and fruit puree.

As they don’t contain any milk or cream, sorbettos are fully dairy-free. Plus, they still give you the same fruity flavor as sherbet.

Sorbettos come in a range of different flavors, so you can choose your favorite.

Sherbet Made With Dairy-Free Milk

Sherbet Made With Dairy-Free Milk

There are a huge range of milk alternatives available now, and you can just make your own dairy-free sherbet with coconut milk, almond milk or oat milk.

Making your own sherbet means that you can choose the ingredients that go into your sweet treat, so just replace the milk with your dairy-free alternative.

We love this super delicious vegan and dairy-free berry sherbet.

The Difference Between Sherbet And Sorbet

Although sherbet is often compared to ice cream, it is not the same as ice cream. Sherbet contains a much smaller amount of dairy milk than traditional ice cream recipes.

But are there also any differences between sorbet and sherbet? Yes, sorbet doesn’t contain any dairy at all, while sherbet has some milk or cream in it to create a richer texture.

Sorbet Is Made With Sugar And Fruit

Sorbet is very simple and it has only two basic ingredients: sugar and fruit. Sometimes there is also some water and flavorings added but typically sorbet is just blended fruit and then frozen.

There is no dairy in sorbet, so sorbet is completely dairy-free and you can eat it as part of your dairy-free diet.

The lack of dairy sets it apart from sherbet as well as ice cream.

Its light texture and high fruit content make sorbet incredibly refreshing and perfect as a gluten-free and dairy-free frozen treat for hot summer evenings.

Sherbet Is Made With Cream And Fruit

Sherbet traditionally contains milk, cream and sometimes also buttermilk. Some manufacturers also add in gelatin (Check out Is Gelatin Vegan?) and egg whites to give sherbet a creamier texture.

Lighter than ice cream but fruitier than sorbet, sherbet often offers the best of both worlds.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Orange Sherbet Have Dairy In It?

Yes, orange sherbet contains milk or cream which means that it is not dairy-free. All sherbet varieties contain dairy, and some even contain eggs.

For a dairy-free frozen treat, it’s better to either try sorbet or you can make your own sherbet with a dairy-free milk alternative.

Does Sherbet Have Less Dairy Than Ice Cream?

Yes, sherbet contains a lot less dairy than ice cream. By law, sherbet must have less than 2% milk or cream. In comparison, ice cream usually contains nearly 50% of cream or milk.

While sherbet is based on fruit juice or fruit purée, ice cream is based on dairy ingredients such as cream, milk or butterfat.

Can Vegans Eat Sherbet?

No, traditional sherbet recipes are not vegan because sherbet contains a small amount of dairy milk or cream. This makes sherbet richer and taste better.

Is Rainbow Sherbet Ice Cream?

No, sherbet and rainbow sherbet is not the same as ice cream. Sherbet contains only a maximum of 2% milk.

In comparison, ice cream must contain at least 10% milk to be labelled as ice cream.

Final Thoughts

While sherbet is not usually dairy-free, you can use some of the delicious frozen alternatives, such as sorbet.

Alternatively, you can also make your own dairy-free sherbet with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk.

This allows you to create your very personal sherbet flavor and you can be sure that it’s absolutely dairy-free and vegan.

Clara Howie
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